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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fautanu is your Apache Football leader

By John Malos
Lifestyles Editor
Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 3:01 PM PDT
It’s not hard to figure out.

Tight end Lafaele Fautanu is one of the few returning senior starters for the Sanger Apaches - thus all the coaches will look to him to be a team leader on the field.

“He’s a quiet leader,” said Apaches Assistant Football Coach Rick Leetch. “He shows by example.”

Leetch says Fautanu’s leadership qualities will come in handy since the Apaches are such a young team and they’ll be looking toward someone with veteran experience.

Remember - Fautanu has been on this team for three years - and he welcomes the role of leader and what it means to him.

“It means someone who talks on the field,” Fautanu told the Herald after practice last week. “And it means brining a positive attitude even in doubt, even if we’re down in a game or if things are not going our way.”

Leetch points out that Fautanu has great hands with a nose for the ball - but admits he may be more of a blocker.

“I would not be surprised if he caught three or four passes a game,” said Leetch.

And, being the team leader that he is - Fautanu has no problem with that, “as long as we’re driving the ball down the field,” he said.

He says he likes defense better anyway and he will be the guy up the gut this year - middle linebacker extraordinaire.

Fautanu is a Bay Area native who moved to Sanger his freshman year.

He’s extremely proud of his heritage - Samoan - and this year Fautanu is dedicating the season to his grandfather, Malofou Toatelegese, who died last March during spring break.

“He (my grandfather) took care of me my whole life,” said Fautanu. “My grandpa saw me play as a freshman and sophomore and he told me “good game” after every game.”

Fautanu also knows this season could determine where he might play college football.

Fresno State Head Coach Pat Hill and Assistant Coach John Baxter have already spoken to Fautanu and they indicated they’ll be watching him closely.

“They told me they like the way I play,” said Fautanu. “They like the way I fly around the field.”

And Leetch agrees saying, “We don’t have too many big kids and when we do, Pat Hill likes to look at them and evaluate them,” he said.

Leetch says Fautanu has great instincts - he runs well - and he has good size, 6-foot, 2, 220-pounds and he’ll get even bigger.

Fautanu is well aware of his two former teammates already playing for the Bulldogs - Justin Webber and Nikko Motta.

Fautanu is also working to improve his grades and if Fresno State comes calling - no doubt he’ll receive help from Baxter who created the well known “Academic Game Plan.”

But for now, Fautanu will focus on the season - that begins with a scrimmage at Exeter tonight followed by the season opener at Buchanan on September 3.


Anonymous said...

I've seen this kid played last year. As a scout for 17 years there is no doubt this kid has the extreme heart for football. I've went out twice to scout on 2 different games & teams and this kid was playing at both games/teams in the valley. He sure does have the extreme energy to play the whole game (about 90%)from defence to offense to special team, he did it all. Even if his team win or they lost, this kid on both game played classic football. The performance that this kid put out on the field is the kind that all coaches & scouts are looking for. There is no doubt that this kid will proceed further in life of football. Good Luck kid. Remember I told you that I'll be back to check on you this year.
Your friend from the bay/U.C. Bears

Anonymous said...

I understand that when I spoke to Fautanu in the summer during their conditioning, I've asked him how long has he played football and he told me since he was 7 years old. Then, I understand why Fautanu has such high experiences in playing ball. I also asked him if he would considering going to college out of town and he said, that answer will be up to God. Where ever God's blessings leads him he will follow. Fautanu is also a kid with respect and love for his family and culture.